Saturday, April 15, 2006

Siki City, by Lucifer Fulci

(pb; 2001: novella)


This novella for serious gorehounds only. That is to say, if you’re put off by the subjects of animal and child dismemberment, necrophilia, excessive gore, pornographic sex, Satanism (the cinematic kind, not the official Church of Satan kind), pedophilia, and serial killing, I’d recommend you skip to another book review.

(To avoid confusion: Lucio Fulci is a famous film director, primarily known for his giallo and zombie films, in which plot consistency is often a hazy afterthought – however, the all-important atmosphere of his better films is intoxicating. Among his better films: The Beyond; Zombie; The Gates of Hell.

(Lucifer Fulci is a member of the heavy metal band Penis Flytrap; i.e., his stage and writing name is itself an homage to the Italian horrormeister. To avoid confusion, I’ll refer to Lucifer Fulci as “author Fulci.”)

Now, the review.

Herschell Gordon Lewis (director of the grue classics 2000 Maniacs!, Blood Feast, and Color Me Blood Red) meets H.P. Lovecraft meets Lucio Fulci in this in-your-face novella, which possesses a welcome, humorous fan-boy ferocity that most so-called “horror novels” lack. It’s an earnest, over-the-top homage to most things horror-related, especially: hard rock (AC/DC, Alice Cooper, KISS), Anton LaVey (ex-head of the Church of Satan), speed metal/punk (Slayer, the Misfits), serial killing, and Walt Disney, all of whom (and which) author Fulci makes direct references to.

The plot runs thusly: Five serial killers from different parts of the country converge on Siki City, a nexus of unholy malevolence, drawn by an “Unnamed” primordial Evil being. The violated corpses left along their psychopathic paths (which converge at a Los Angeles burger joint) attract the attention of a cynical, bordering-on-creepy cop, Cassandra Guetmench (aka, “Guet”).

The cons of Siki City:

The writing, while effusively gory and goofy, needs serious editing. There’s notable misspellings, awkward sentence structures and painfully obvious, overly long descriptions of torture, dismemberment, and related rot. The overly long descriptions, while part of the charm of Siki City, occasionally bog down the fast-paced, 123-page novella, and benumb the reader to the grisly shocks that the descriptions initially deliver. By the time the reader gets to the abstract, horrifying climax (which echoes the ending of Lucio Fulci’s 1981 film, The Beyond, the reader is, or in my case was, tired of blood and guts.

(It could be argued that in gorehound literature, gore is the attraction; however, as illustrated by most porn movies, too much of one element and too little of another can cheapen the effect of the work in question.)

Another quibble I had with Siki City was that author Fulci doesn’t develop his characters much. There’s superficial differences among the serial killers and Guet, but the characters lack real-life dimensions; at best, they’re one-note characters – namely: Allison Rosas, first seen having sex with a morgue corpse, “hooks” (prostitutes herself) when she needs to, to get her feminist-hard fix of “necro-lovin.’” Billy the Butcher (with whom Allison hooks up), is a 330-pound cannibal child-killer and pedophile with the personality of a man-child. Chris and Natalie, a goth couple tired of hanging around wannabe-Satanists, are less murderous but just as twisted as their partners in sickness. Patrick, a gay snuff-film afficionado, gets his kicks from death, whatever form it takes. Guet is your stereotypical tough cop, whose job burn-out verges on random, f***-it-all violence.

The cons of the novella, however, are outweighed by the aforementioned enthusiasm of author Fulci, who shows more, um, guts in his rude barrage of horrific – and gleefully nasty – action. Another pleasure in reading this novel is noting the inside jokes author Fulci inserts into the story – e.g., in the first chapter when a scalpel punctures a human eye, it’s another reference to director Lucio Fulci, who, in his giallo films, had “signature” scenes where human eyeballs get speared, popped, squished or whatever.

Here’s hoping that author Fulci puts out a sequel soon, as suggested by the novella’s sick-with-ripe-promise epilogue. Worthwhile, refreshingly dangerous and unrepentant horror, if you can get past the lack of editing and have a strong constitution.

If you’re interested in owning this popular (among independent publications) novella, you can order it through .


Anonymous said...

Wow! This novella sounds interesting and disgusting at the same time. It definetly grabbed my attention, that's for sure. I really enjoyed reading your book reviews. Would you mind if I linked your site from my page? I'm a newbie at this so I thought I'd get your permission first. Thanks!

Steve said...

Glad to be of service. (I'm a newbie, too.)

Feel free to link up. Thanks for asking! :)

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